We’re happy to be hosting Michael Holloway Perronne’s GARDENS OF HOPE Blog Tour today! Please leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!
GARDENS OF HOPE
Author: Michael Holloway Perronne
Publisher: Chances Press
Genre: Gay fiction/Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
On the surface, Jack appears to have all a
man in World War II era 1941 could want with his solid middle-class background,
upcoming college graduation, and the perfect, devoted fiancee. But one night
when he accidentally stumbles upon a shadow life of men who desire other men in
a Downtown Los Angeles park, he begins to realize exactly what has always left
him with a feeling of emptiness.
Despite the constant danger of being
arrested by vice cops, Jack continues to visit the park every chance he has to
feel a connection, no matter how fleeting, with another man. One night he meets
a handsome and charismatic Japanese-American, Hiro, who appears to want more
than a quick encounter, and Jack surprises himself by starting to truly fall in
love for the first time.
However, after the bombing of Pearl
Harbor, President Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066 and orders the
mandatory relocation of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans, who have never been
charged with a crime, to far flung internment camps sites. Jack and Hiro
suddenly find themselves torn apart before their secret, fledgling romance can
blossom. Desperate to find and reconnect with Hiro, Jack accepts a high school
teaching position at an internment camp in the California desert, Manzanar.
There, surrounded by armed guard towers and a prison-like environment, Jack
begins to fully realize the injustices being faced by Japanese-Americans during
one of the most controversial times of United States history and shifts his
world view- forever.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
I stuffed my hands in thepockets of my pea coat and continued to walk faster and faster toward the park,fast enough that I began to sweat even though it had turned downright cold atthis point. I walked by the May Co. Christmas window displays with their Santasand snowmen and wondered how anyone could have a jolly holiday now knowing thedanger that threatened us all after the attack on Pearl Harbor.Sure, we had been listening daily to the news on the radio describing bombingsin Europe, but I knew that having a mass attack onAmerican soil woke many people up to the fact that we were not immune to theviolence or the war.When I eventually reachedthe park, it was dim and looked deserted. Usually there were a few men millingabout and trying not to look obvious about why they were there and a few otherpeople who had come there simply to go to the park. Maybe everyone was asshaken up by the bombing that they were staying home with their families—which is probably exactly where I should have been if I hadn’t been so weak, I admonished myself.Finding the park so deserted felt like another kick to my stomach. There was no way to run from or ignore my feelings at the moment, and defeated, I slumped down on a park bench by myself.I could hear the distant voices of people walking outside the park and even a few laughs. I wondered if the laughing people had heard about the bombing yet.News traveled much slower back then with no TV or Internet. It was possible to be “out of the loop” for a period of time when it came to bad news. Now it justhits you like a high-speed train throughout the day with one breaking newsstory after the next.I looked up at the clearsky, and even with the city lights, some stars shone brightly.Increasingly, I feltlonelier.I knew I should probablybe with Sally, my family, or friends instead of by myself in this deserted parkin Downtown, but none of them would understand all the confused feelings I hadswirling in and dominating my brain. I didn’t even understand it all.Suddenly, I heard a loudchirping sound and felt a small but sharp peck on the top of my head.“What the….” I started tosay.The bird loudly squawkedagain before diving down and pecking at my head again. I threw up my arms andwaved them around to scare off my tiny attacker.That’s when I heard chuckle coming from across me. In the dim light I could make out another man.Back then, he would have been referred to as Oriental. He was a few inchesshorter than me and about my age with short-cropped black hair, and I could seehis wide smile even in this light.“You must be near hernest. That’s why she’s attacking you. They do that sometimes. I’d move if Iwere you,” he said.Quickly, I got off thebench and walked toward him, and the bird stopped attacking.“Thanks,” I said.As I got closer, I got amuch better look at him.He had broad shouldersthat hinted at a somewhat muscular body. He wore a black knit sweater withfitted gray slacks. His cheeks had dimples when he smiled, and just his gaze onme quickened my heart. The more he came into focus, the more I saw how incrediblyhandsome this man looked, even bordering on the term pretty.“Sorry, but I couldn’thelp laughing,” he said, his smile growing bigger as I got closer.I paused and continued tolook at him to see if I could recognize that tell-tale look in his eyes and thepossibility that he had ventured out here by himself for the same reason I did.“That’s okay,” I said,conjuring up a small laugh on my end to appear relaxed. “I hadn’t expected tobe harassed by a bird.”He nodded and said,“Yeah, by the police maybe but not a bird.”The police?Even though anythingresembling a real conversation had been short, I had heard from a couple of theguys I met up with at Pershing Square to keep an eye out for the police whoshowed up on occasion to make sure nothing happened in the bushes and grassthat shouldn’t. Some men’s arrest reports ended up in the newspapers and theirlives were basically ruined. One man described the arrest and beating in thepark of a guy with premature salt-and-pepper hair and bright blue eyes. I immediatelyrecognized his description. The two of us had gone off together just a coupleof nights prior.My heart fluttered. Hiscomment did strongly hint at something. Maybe he was here for the same reasonas me.This young man with hiswarm smile could help me forget….at least for a few moments. In his arms, Iwould be able to block out the rest of the world just long enough not to feelso low about myself. I wanted to take him to the back of my parents’ shop. Iwanted to run my fingers through his black crew cut, let my hands run up anddown his arms to feel his masculine torso, and pull him close to me enjoyingthe buildup of warmth between our bodies.“What’s your name?” heasked, his eyes darting around every now and then to stay aware of who was around.“Jack,” I managed to say.All I could think aboutat that moment was how badly I wanted to kiss him and taste his lips. I couldnow see a bit of stubble on his check that I wanted to stroke with my fingers.“I’m Hiro,” he said.“Sounds like h-e-r-o but spelt with an ‘I’ instead of an ‘e.’ It’s Japanese.”“Hiro,” I repeated. “Nice to meet you”
This is my first book by Michael that I have read and I found out that he can sure write. He has a way with words that blew me away with this story. It was beautifully well written. It was an emotional read I did cry a few times. You can definitely feel the emotions with the characters.
This story went smoothly and was well worth the read. If you want a good love story I would definitely recommend reading this.
About the Author
Michael Holloway Perronne is the
author of eight books including: “A Time Before
Me,” “Falling Into Me”, “A Time Before Us, Men Can Do
Romance” “Gardens of Hope,” and”Embrace the
Rain.” His debut novel, “A Time Before Me” won the
BronzeAward, Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in the Gay/Lesbian fiction category.
Michael was born and raised in Mississippi.
He received a BA in Film from
the University of Southern
Mississippi and a MFA in Drama and Communications
from the University of New
currently resides in Southern California and is working
on his next novel, “The Other Side of Happy.”
His recent release is Gardens
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